The Food Export Council aims to double the size of exports to the African markets in the coming period.
Hani Berzi, chairperson of the council, said that the government pays great attention to exporting, considering its role in providing hard currency to the country and in creating jobs.
He added that the state is also interested in exporting to Africa, considering the continent’s strategic aspects, next to being a promising market.
Berzi noted that Africa accounts for 11% of all exports from the sector—which amounts to $2.7bn as estimated last year—adding that Kenya is the biggest importer of Egyptian food exports, with $52m worth of imports in 2016, up from $34m in 2015.
He explained that the council aims to increase exports to Kenya by 15% per year until 2020.
He added that the council is working to double exports to Africa in the coming years through its participation in international exhibitions and sending delegations to learn about the needs of different markets.
In the same context, Manar Nasr, executive director of the Food Export Council, said that the African market is being prioritised in the current period in order to benefit from the trade agreements Egypt has with a number of African countries.
She said that the council works to overcome all the obstacles facing Egyptian companies and to introduce them to the promising African markets.
She pointed out that the council is focused now on pivotal markets and the countries where Egyptian products already exist, such as Kenya, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Djibouti, in order to increase their market share.
Nasr stressed that African markets need different products from Egypt, including juice concentrates, sauces, sweets, oils, snacks, and biscuits.
Regarding challenges, Nasr said that the council is working on several fronts to ensure Egyptian companies receive their dues owed from African importers, including an agreement with the Export Development Bank of Egypt, which provides all the guarantees for Egyptian exporters.
She highlighted the importance of the financial services provided to the company, along with services that enable Egyptian companies to inquire about importers.
She noted that the presence of a storage warehouse for Egyptian products in Kenya contributes to ensuring access to owed dues, explaining that products can be exported from Egypt to be held in storage, where they could remain until the payment for the shipment is received in full.
She pointed out that the council also coordinates between Egyptian exporters and African importers to arrange two-way trips to split the cost between both parties. For instance, she said that Egyptian importers of tea from Kenya can benefit from using the same trucks that exported other Egyptian products to Kenya.